daythree5Okay, so here comes round two of the awesome trip to Sweden to see Austin. As beautiful and sunny and exciting as day one and two were, day three was, in a good kind of way, the converse of that.  It was cold, foggy and at times rainy, and we moved at a much slower pace.  We started out by visiting the library where Aus has spent quite a good amount of time in the past ten months.  (I didn’t feel too sorry for him.) It was absolutely stunning.  He was able to concentrate on getting some work done. But me?  Nope.  Although I was trying to work on a grant proposal, I was very distracted by the beauty all around and was having a tough time focusing. (Irony is that the grant has to do with helping meet the needs of students with attention deficit.   Hmm.  Fancy that.)

daythree1daythree3daythree2Austin seemed to get a lot done and I  focused just enough to feel like I had accomplished a little something. After about an hour we left and ventured out to see the Fotografiska museum, a museum with Photographic Exhibits.  (Oh, and just for a reminder…”venturing out” doesn’t mean hopping in your car and going from point A to point B.  It means walking to the train, then taking the train to the bus, and then walking , which can include climbing a mountain of steps, from the bus to point D.Just keeping it real, here!)  So yes, we “ventured out” and made our way to the museum.

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(See?  I rest my case. Mountain of steps it is…one side up, one side down.) But on the other side of the ‘mountain’ was our destination, “Fotografiska” as well as a beautiful view of the city in a foggy haze. museumWhen we went inside, the exhibit we saw was Nick Brandt’s “Inherit the Dust”.  As gray as it was outside, it felt even more gray inside. Black and whites of animals and the landscape that has become wastelands filled the huge photographs in the rooms.  It was so quiet except for the sound of the video running of Nick Brandt himself, his calm voice with a British accent telling how the idea was conceived, and how he and his team laboriously gave birth to the project.  Was absolutely amazing, moving, informative, and not a little depressing to be honest.  (If you get a chance,  you can check it out online at Nick Brandt’s “Inherit the Dust” . )  There were other exhibits, one having to do with  the Deep South after a major flood, and another having to do with Syrian Refugees. The wheels in my head were turning after seeing those images and I so appreciated the beauty of the craft and the heart of conveying  a message via photos.  But the content was heavy and stuck with us. So, yes, it was gray outside and gray inside.  Wouldn’t have seemed quite right to walk outside and see the sun after seeing all that we saw.  daythree4

And we didn’t have to, because it was still very gray as we left the museum and once again climbed our little mountain to reach the next bus.  And the next bus was going to take us to a restaurant called “Meatballs”.  Yep.  Swedish Meatballs it is.  Not sure if we were eating moose or reindeer, venison (does reindeer meat count as venison?), or beef,or a mix of all things mentioned. (Note to self- sometimes being “brave” is easier if we don’t think so much.  Especially about what we’re eating.) So I disengaged the brain trying to figure out what meat it was, and just enjoyed the time. The atmosphere was great, company better, and food was really good too.  My favorite thing was there was free coffee and cookies for dessert. Can’t beat that. Also loved the potatoes.  (I mean, potatoes are just…well, potatoes.  No guessing there.)

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So, we continued exploring the city.  We passed the “Koncerthuset”, where the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremonies were held. It was such a crazy good privilege that Austin and the other Fulbright Scholars were all able to attend the ceremony last December (had to include photo of Aus that night), so seeing the building where it was held was so cool.    The birds seemed to like it as well. The photo doesn’t do it justice as there were trucks parked in front and I couldn’t get a good shot.

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Austin NobelWe continued walking, browsing stores, stopped at a coffee shop, and then took some time to sit for a bit at the reflecting pool.  Was beautiful.deepinthought Still gray outside.  Aus was still deep in thought…had some heavy decisions to make regarding future prospects and it seemed to be weighing on him. We talked about it some.  But sometimes you can’t talk it all through…it just takes some time for that fog to clear.  daythree8

Or sometimes, there can be major disruptions that snap us out of that fog.  And this time, we can thank this loud, angry seagull for the  very loud and clear interruption.daythreeseagullHe and another gull were fighting over food. Am thinking he probably won, but we didn’t wait to find out.  We got up and walked on.  We came to a beautiful garden and took some photos.daythree13daythree10We even got one of me.  Correction.  Bunches of me, but we won’t post those. I’m definitely not too great at selfies or posing for photos.  Much prefer to be behind the camera. Case in point, above photo. Ah well, I’m thankful I can laugh at myself. (My kids can too, so feel free!)   I hope that the General who is portrayed in the statue that was directly in front of me has (had) a sense of humor as well.  He looked so majestic in the silhouette that I first took of him. daythree9Yes, so majestic, stately, deserving honor.  But then…there were some not so flattering shots I took as well.  daythree11daythree12Hmmm…I guess we all have those unflattering times when we’re not seen in our best light. Light changes everything.  I think he’d feel better if he saw all the throw-away poses of me.  (And I didn’t even need any birds help, for sure! )

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daythreepurpleAs you can see, the fog was lifting, and the sun was beginning to shine through. Not just outside.  Loved that. We stood for awhile at the bridge and took it all in. There were swans going back and forth from one end of the waterway to the other.  This was where the Baltic Sea met the inner waterways through the city, and the tide seemed to be coming in. The swans looked like they were on hyper-speed as they rode the currents.  daythree18

daythreepurple3Floating in the water, floating in the air, there are birds all around in Stockholm.

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Austin walked on ahead of me, and I captured some cool silhouettes of him.  daythree20

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I love this one. He’s had meetings in the building in back of him as well.  daythree26Same building. Different lighting.  Light changes everything. Day three ended peacefully.

But then came day four.  Didn’t start peacefully AT ALL.  And that was ALL my fault.Mea culpa big-time.  You see, this jet-lag-time-zone thing was starting to catch up with me.  In the morning, we were due to catch a train at 9:15.  Well, my phone and computer had different times…one had switched to Swedish time, one was still on NC time, so when I woke up and saw that the clock said “11:11”, well, for some reason, I thought it was 11:11 a.m. After all, it was light outside.  I went and shared the bad news with Aus that for some reason, we had missed the alarm and thus missed our train. (The train trip that you have to get tickets 2 weeks in advance for.) Poor guy.  He took a minute, thought, looked at his clock, and he’s like “Mom, it’s a little after 5 in the morning.”  He sees a look of confusion on my face.  Then relief. Phew. Then  comes embarassment and still total confusion about the time situation. Turns out my clock had said 11:11 p.m. for NC time. I apologized profusely and he laughed and we were both relieved we didn’t miss the train.  Went back to sleep (not really), and then got ready for train.   Had our first “RUNNNNNN!” session in trying to catch the first train to get the LONG trip train, and made it just in time.  I am so not a graceful runner (more on that later!).  Especially with flip flops and a heavy bag.  But we made it for both trains. Next Stop, Malmo, Sweden.

dayfour3The train ride was peaceful.  Not sure why I was so tired…hmmm…but I did sleep a bit on the train.  The views were beautiful and interesting. Lots of rolling hills, white birch trees, and little towns and trains stations. dayfour2dayfour1Then, after 6 hours on the train, we were there.  Malmo, Sweden.  Home of rocky beaches, interesting architecture, the tallest building in Sweden, (the “Turning Torso”), and gateway to Copenhagen.  We went to the train station and took a bus, then walked to the apartment.  Views?  YES.Front View: Baltic Sea with lighthouse to the right and Copenhagen straight ahead.

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Back porch view: Turning Torso, the tallest building in Sweden.

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We put our bags down, spoke a bit with the  fun-loving Norwegian owner, then set out to see Malmo. (Aus doesn’t waste any time!)

The wind was blowing, the sun was shining, and it was absolutely beautiful.  There was a wonderful mix of the old and the new, but it all seemed to fit.  Here’s some of the old:dayfour20

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And here’s some of the new…malmo18malmo15malmo17

It was the Friday before Father’s Day, so I found myself tuning into dads and their little ones.  Here are some of the photos taken on the center square in Malmo.dads3dads2dads9dads5dads4Dads are dads. Kids are kids. No matter what ground they’re standing on.  Love that.

We made our way back to the apartment, but stopped by the shoreline first.   Was beautiful.  The water was active with ships coming in, the wind was blowing, there was a chill in the air, but some people were still braving the cold and diving into the cold waters from the dock.  The sun was slowly going down and so the photos were all silhouettes, my favorite. malmo21dayfour27dayfour30dayfour31dayfour32dayfour33

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The sun was setting as we walked back to the apartment.  I sunk down into a comfortable chaise lounge, pulled up a comfortable blanket, and watched as the sun descended.  As stressful as the day started with my silly, silly alarm stating that we missed the train, it sure ended peacefully, blissfully, comfortably, with the view just speaking loudly.  Yes, “the heavens declare the glory of God.”  Saw it.  Felt it.  Filled with gratitude for it, and for another day filled with the stressors, the comforts and all the inbetween.  Next stop…Copenhagen.dayfour36

And with that…well, am guessing the photo threshold has been definitely reached once again.  Thanks for staying along for the ride.  Am thinking I’ll end up doing a part three of this whole thing because I realize once again that “abridged” is not my middle name (my kids could definitely attest to that!) and I really want to share some of the amazing sights we saw in Copenhagen, the Archipelagos, and Stockholm.   Good Night, friends. May your sleep be sweet and you wake up with an alarm clock set to your  time zone!

Blessings ~

Heather

 

“The heavens declare the glory of  God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands. “

Psalm 19:1